Driving Under the Influence (DUI) or Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) charges can lead to a lot of changes and consequences in your life, even if you successfully fight the charge. It is possible to launch a solid defense against your charges depending on how your arrest was done, how your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was determined, and more. It is in your best interest to find a DUI attorney with experience in the area so you can fight the charge based on your circumstances. Otherwise, other aspects of your life could also be affected, such as your car insurance.
How exactly does a DUI charge hurt my insurance?
If you are convicted of a DUI/DWI, it could actually increase your insurance rates. Further, if your insurance company has to pay a judgment or settlement to an injured party if your driving caused an accident, your insurance company can pursue you for a payout.1 There are a lot of factors that go into determining your premiums for your car insurance. For example, your age and marital status can change your rates. Moreover, your driving record, the type of vehicle you own, accident claims, your credit score, and your various driving practices can also raise or lower your premium amount.2
If you are convicted of a DUI, reckless driving, or driving without insurance, you may be required to carry a Safety Responsibility or SR-22 document.3 There are two types of these documents: owner and non-owner. Non-owner policies are more difficult to come by and usually only covers general liability.4 If you are the owner of the vehicle, then you will need an owner SR-22 to legally operate your vehicle again.5 Your insurance company will send you such a document and you will most likely have to carry it for multiple years (i.e. five years following a DUI conviction).6 You may have to file an SR-22 certificate to reinstate your license as well.7 When your insurance company gets the request for an SR-22, it could signal to the company that you are a high risk driver and that your insurance premiums should go up.8 Further, if your insurance carrier does not provide SR-22 statements then they will cancel your insurance.9
What if I do not have automobile insurance?
If you do not have insurance when you are arrested for a DUI, you will be charged with another driving infraction. You are required to have automobile insurance at minimum coverage levels in Arizona if you are driving an automobile. The minimum amount of insurance that you need is 15/30/10.10 This means that you have a maximum of $15,000 for each person who would receive money for bodily injuries, $30,000 total for all bodily injuries to all people, and $10,000 total paid out for property damage to the vehicle.11
How can I prevent my insurance rates from going up?
The most obvious way is to avoid a DUI conviction. If you are simply arrested for a DUI, you should hire an Arizona DUI attorney to help you fight your charges. Your attorney could get your charges dismissed or reduced depending on your situation. If that is the case, you could possibly prevent your insurance premiums from going up or your policy from being cancelled.
1 How to Fight to Beat a DUI/DWI in Arizona – What to do and Ways to Win a DUI Case in AZ, FIGHTDUICHARGES.COM, http://www.fightduicharges.com/arizona/how-to-fight-to-beat-a-dui-dwi-in-arizona/ (last visited Dec. 29, 2014).
2 Factors That Determine Your Auto Insurance Rates, AUTOINSURANCE.ORG, http://www.autoinsurance.org/factors-that-determine-your-auto-insurance-rates/ (last visited Dec. 30, 2014).
3 Rich Stim, SR22 and Other Insurance Requirements in Arizona, DUI.DRIVINGLAWS.ORG, http://dui.drivinglaws.org/arizona-sr22.php (last visited Dec. 29, 2014).
4 Penny Gusner, SR-22 Solution: Non-Owner Car Insurance, INSURANCE.COM (Dec. 19, 2014), http://www.insurance.com/auto-insurance/faq/insurance-for-non-car-owner.aspx.
5 Alex Lane, How A Drunk Driving Conviction Affects Car Insurance, ALEXLANELAW.COM (Aug. 21, 2014), http://www.alexlanelaw.com/criminal-defense/drunk-driving-conviction-affects-car-insurance/.
6 Rich Stim, supra note 3.
7 Determining Auto-Insurance Premiums for Drivers With DUI Convictions, SCOTTSDALE-DUILAWYER.COM, http://www.scottsdale-duilawyer.com/Articles/Determining-Auto-Insurance-Premiums-for-Drivers-With-DUI-Convictions.shtml (last visited Dec. 29, 2014).
8 Alex Lane, supra note 5.
10 Rich Stim, supra note 3.